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Bolivia to hold snap elections


Bolivia to hold snap elections

Bolivia elections
Photo: David Mercado/ Reuters

Bolivia will hold snap general elections today.

Voters are expected to select for president either former finance minister Luis Arce of the opposition Movement to Socialism (MAS) or centrist former president Carlos Mesa. Should none of the five candidates in today’s race win over 50% of the votes, or at least 40% with a 10% lead over the closest competitor, a runoff will take place on November 29.

Today’s election is a redo of the controversial 2019 election that saw then-president Evo Morales flee to Mexico amid nationwide protests that erupted across Bolivia. Recent polls indicate that Arce, who is perceived to be a stand-in for Morales, is closest to the threshold needed to avoid a runoff. The winner will have to fight a deep recession caused by COVID-19. Mesa plans to privatise Bolivia’s industries to restart the faltering economy, while Arce plans to reimplement the socialist policies he oversaw under Morales.

In the event of a runoff, it is likely Mesa will win, as the MAS opposition is united behind his candidacy. Political violence and protests are likely to follow the elections given Arce’s statements that a loss could only occur due to fraud. This will further destabilise the recovery efforts of the new executive.

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